Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time


Let us not listen to the devil when we are caught in the troubles of the world, whether the bodily pain or the loss of children or amid other struggles. Let us not listen to the adversary as he says, “So where now is the Lord your God?” When we suffer severe pain we must then beware of his temptations, for he is trying to lead astray the weary soul. Seeing the wonderful works of God, the soul will behold itself already as if in heaven, with the devil creeping around like a snake on the earth. Thus the prophet said, “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?”1


We should give a tunic to one who has none at all. Who is the person who does not have a tunic? It is one who utterly lacks God. Therefore we should divest ourselves and give to one who is naked. One has God; another does not have God at all. We give to the one who does not have God. The prophet in Scripture says, “We should cast our sins into the depths of the sea.” John continues, “He who has food should do likewise.” Whoever has food should give some to one who has none. He should generously give him not only clothing but also what he can eat.2


Is it not true that the Virgin Mary did the Father’s will, she who believed in faith, conceived in faith and was chosen so that, through her, salvation could be born for us among humans and was begotten by Christ before Christ was begotten in her? Holy Mary carried out, plainly and clearly, the Father’s will. Therefore it is greater for Mary to have been a disciple of Christ than the mother of Christ. Indeed, it is greater and better to have been the disciple of Christ than the mother of Christ. Mary was therefore blessed because, even before she gave birth, she bore the Master in her womb.… Mary is holy and Mary is blessed, but the church is greater than the Virgin Mary. And why? Because Mary is a part of the church, a holy limb, an extraordinary limb, an outstanding limb, but she is only a limb of the whole body. If she is but a part of the whole body, greater indeed is the body than a limb. Christ is the head, and Christ is the entire head and body. What shall I say? We have a divine head. We have God as our head.3


The devil feared that if he who was considered only a man was acknowledged to be the Son of God, the devil would be abandoned by all. To refute Christ’s words, the devil slyly introduced Christ’s own relatives in the flesh. By focusing attention on them, he hoped to obscure the nature of Christ’s divinity. Thus someone came forward, the devil’s advocate as it were, who with human speech spoke diabolical words, saying, “Behold, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak to you.” He seemed to be saying, “Why are you boasting, Jesus, about how you came down from heaven, you who have roots on earth? “Behold, your mother and your brothers are standing outside.” He thus implied that he who has been brought forth by humans cannot be the Son of God. You cannot conceal the one who has been exposed by nature. Then Jesus looked at him who appeared to be a man but who was really the devil speaking. “And who is my mother and who are my brothers?” I have no relatives in this world, I who created the world before its very foundation. I do not know a beginning in the flesh (as Photinus believed), I who was with God already at the beginning. What you see in me as merely a man is only my garment, not my [theandric] nature.
“And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers.’ ” Without denigrating the process of birth or being ashamed of embodiment as a human, Jesus gave that answer. He wanted to show that the spiritual [God-human] relationship must take precedence over the merely carnal relationship.4


If someone can become the brother of the Lord by coming to faith, we must ask how one can become also his mother. We must realize that the one who is Christ’s brother and sister by believing becomes his mother by preaching. It is as though one brings forth the Lord and infuses him in the hearts of one’s listeners. And that person becomes his mother if through one’s voice the love of the Lord is generated in the mind of his neighbor.5


  1. LETTER 45.  Ferreiro, A. (2003). Introduction to the Twelve Prophets. In A. Ferreiro (Ed.), The Twelve Prophets (p. 177). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. HOMILIES ON THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 23.5.  Ferreiro, A. (2003). Introduction to the Twelve Prophets. In A. Ferreiro (Ed.), The Twelve Prophets (p. 177). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. SERMON 72A.7.  Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2001). Matthew 1–13 (p. 261). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. INCOMPLETE WORK ON MATTHEW, HOMILY 30.  Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2001). Matthew 1–13 (pp. 261–262). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  5. FORTY GOSPEL HOMILIES 3.2.  Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2001). Matthew 1–13 (p. 262). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x